Faculty, staff and students may have reasons they are unable to return to campus in the fall or winter. Employees of the University will be asked to work with their supervisor and their HR partner to discuss COVID-19 work accommodations following an established procedure for COVID-19 related reasons—for example, being immunocompromised, or caring for or living with someone who is at increased risk due to COVID-19. In addition, to the greatest extent possible, faculty and staff who are able to work effectively from home without compromise to their core responsibilities, as evaluated by their supervisor, will be supported in this decision. Students who wish to take their classes online for any reason will be supported. Specifically, classes will accommodate remote instruction for students unable to attend class or return to campus. Relatedly, graded in-person attendance will be discouraged to avoid incentivizing students who may not feel well to attend class. Our intention is to provide a range of options that support in-person activities to the greatest extent possible while also following de-densification guidelines and supporting individual needs.
Official Student Accommodations through the Disability Services Program (DSP)
Having contracted COVID-19 or being at increased risk for complications associated with contracting COVID-19 are not in and of themselves disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The University of Denver (DU) recognizes that some students may experience temporary conditions as a result of COVID-19, and DU may provide services to support students experiencing those short-term impacts. The following information is intended to inform faculty, staff and students when a referral to the Disability Services Program (DSP) is appropriate and how best to make such a referral.
DSP is the only office on campus authorized to review and determine eligibility for temporary adjustments due to being immunocompromised, temporary accommodations or ongoing accommodations associated with a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition. Because approval for temporary adjustments and temporary accommodations is different from approval for ongoing disability accommodations, students and employees who have questions about the temporary or ongoing status of a students’ approved adjustment or accommodation should contact the DSP for clarification.
Many, but not all, conditions that result in increased vulnerability associated with COVID-19 rise to the level of disability. Referral to DSP allows DSP to determine whether there are appropriate adjustments or accommodations to consider, whether related to COVID-19 or not. Engaging with DSP is particularly important if/when a student indicates that an underlying health condition is impacting their ability to engage in daily activities of living and/or in academic activities.
If a DU employee has a student who discloses that they are immunocompromised due to an underlying medical condition, treatment plan or medication regimen, or are otherwise at a heightened risk with respect to COVID-19, the community member should be referred to the DSP.
Best Practice Referrals
- The DSP is not the appropriate point of contact for students who have or disclose a COVID-19 infection involving little or no active symptoms or symptoms lasting less than 2 weeks. All classes will accommodate remote learning; therefore during your quarantine you should be able to stay engaged in your coursework remotely. If you need assistance due to stress or other concerns, please contact SOS.
- For students with COVID-19 infections lasting more than 2 weeks or students with additional medical conditions that experience complications, referral to DSP is appropriate if the student would like to request temporary adjustments, temporary accommodations or ongoing accommodations.
- If a student who is immunocompromised wishes to request accommodations in University-managed housing or a required meal plan, the employee should refer the student to DSP for additional information and/or to initiate a request for adjustments or accommodations.
- Students who are immunocompromised, but who are asymptomatic and/or have tested negative for COVID-19 and would like to request accommodations due to their increased risk, should first work with their academic advisor to determine what course options and delivery methods are available to reduce their exposure and/or best meet their needs.
- After working with their academic advisor, if a student would still like to request temporary adjustments or ongoing accommodations associated with being immunocompromised, the employee should refer the student to the DSP website or DSP to initiate the request.
- Many people are experiencing increased anxiety associated with the state of the country and world resulting from COVID-19 and other recent events. In some cases, these feelings of anxiety may rise to the level of being a disability. If a student reports experiencing anxiety or other mental health conditions that are interfering with their ability to engage in activities of daily living or academic pursuits, the employee should refer the student to the DSP and to Counseling Services in HCC
- When an employee refers a student to the DSP, the employee should follow up the conversation with an email to the student recapping the conversation and include a link to the DSP website. This best practice allows the student to refer back to information shared, correct any misunderstandings following the meeting, promotes a common understanding of information covered during the conversation and serves as documentation of the referral.
- Sample referral language
- Thank you for sharing your concern with me. The Disability Services Program (DSP) may be in a better position to assist you with addressing your concern(s). You can find additional information on the DSP website https://www.du.edu/dsp, by emailing DSP at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the DSP by phone at 303.871.3241.
Immunocompromised adjustments request due to COVID-19 can be found at DSP Request Link
Covid-19 Work Accommodations
The University of Denver understands that certain employees may
- have health conditions or may live with or care for others with health conditions that put them at risk of severe illness from COVID-19;
- have childcare demands due to closure or changes in school schedules; and
- be unable to return to campus for other reasons
As DU employees return-to-work on campus, the University is providing confidential assistance to employees regarding COVID-19 work accommodations. Employees who are unable to return to campus should visit this page.
- document informal arrangements with your supervisor to work remotely
- request assistance in seeking such an informal arrangement
- make a formal COVID-19 work accommodations request
State orders impose obligations on employers including:
- requiring employers to provide reasonable work accommodations during “Stay at Home” pandemic emergency conditions for individuals who:
- are 65 or older
- are pregnant
- have cancer
- have chronic kidney disease
- have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- have a serious heart condition, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- are immunocompromised (soft tissue transplant)
- have a body mass index of 30 or higher
- have sickle cell disease
- have Type 2 diabetes mellites
- are a smoker
- have otherwise been determined to be high-risk by their licensed healthcare provider
- encouraging employers to provide reasonable work accommodations for employees who:
- care for or reside with an individual who is at risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- are facing childcare needs when schools are closed or online
COVID-19 work accommodations are not permanent and are subject to change following changes in state requirements or guidance.
HR Partners and Shared Services will work together to process COVID-19 work accommodation requests. For faculty COVID-19 work accommodation requests, HR Partners will work with faculty members, deans, associate deans and department heads, as applicable. For staff COVID-19 work accommodation requests, HR Partners will work with employees and their supervisors.
For informal arrangements, your supervisor will be asked to confirm they share your understanding at the supervisor review page.
The University will not share your confidential information or any medical documentation that you may choose to provide with your supervisors, deans, associate deans or department heads and will store that information separately from your personnel file.
Your HR Partner will contact you after the University receives your COVID-19 work accommodation request. If you have questions about the COVID-19 work accommodation process or the form, please contact your HR Partner. For Facilities staff, please contact Jerron.Lowe@du.edu.